The group released a report in June finding that Monsanto's drought-tolerant corn will only offer modest protection for drought tolerance. While it may help individual farmers recoup yield losses in drought conditions, it would not increase food production to sustain a climate-stressed world, the report says (ClimateWire, June 5).
DroughtGard would only increase productivity by less than 1 percent per year, said the report's author, Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist in the group's Food and Environment Program.
In the face of criticism, big agricultural companies have repeatedly said that advanced genetic manipulation -- through biotechnology or advanced breeding technology -- is no bull's-eye solution but is simply a tool to better manage arid conditions.
"We've always told farmers they need to have realistic expectations," Schussler said.
In a climate-stressed world, farmers will need to adapt with new management practices, and Edge hopes using drought-resistant hybrids will re-emphasize the importance of water conservation.
"We can make progress," he said. "But it's one step at a time."
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500